Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Ruben Neves praised the dogged work rate and quality of teammate Diego Costa, who put in a magnificent shift in his side’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Tuesday evening.
Speaking on BT Sport after the game, Neves showered the former Atletico Madrid ace in praise and said (via Wolves official): “Diego is a fantastic player. I’m really happy to play alongside him, everyone’s happy to have him at the club. A player that was six months without football came here and is so motivated to help us. I think everyone knows Diego from the past.”
That victory meant that Wolves moved nine points clear of the drop zone, and it was their sixth win in their last eight home league matches.
Why is Diego Costa so highly rated by Wolves?
The 24-cap international joined on a free transfer, under the old boss Bruno Lage, as an emergency signing due to Sasa Kalajdzic’s season-ending knee injury.
There were concerns about his intentions as he hadn’t played for nine months before the move, but he has quickly displayed his true character.
The Spaniard’s hunger makes him a pleasure to play with and automatically attracts the screaming adoration of the Molineux faithful, even if he hasn’t been the most potent force in this campaign.
The striker has only netted once in 19 Premier League outings for the Midlands club but his raw personality, enthusiasm, and passion have been hugely appreciated by his new club.
There was a sense of collective euphoria when he netted his first goal for Wolves against Brentford on 15th April as chants of “Diego, Diego, Diego” was rapturously belted out across the stadium.
Julen Lopetegui feels blessed to have the forward at his disposal and said: “He has a big heart. He is a very competitive player, in the bad moments he continued working because he has his spirit. You can’t buy this spirit.”
His second stint in England and this love is reminiscent of his trophy-laden spell at Chelsea.
Across three years in west London, the 34-year-old scored 59 goals in 120 appearances in all competitions and was a core member of a squad that cantered towards two Premier League titles.
Whilst he has lost a yard of pace and that killer instinct, he remains the same untameable annoyance for defenders and his experience could be crucial to retain if Wolves are going to enjoy a more sturdy campaign next season.
Much of the talk has been about Neves’ own departure and although it feels like a matter of time before he leaves, the Molineux outfit must do all they can to keep him in the Midlands.
The same can be said of Costa too, whose contract expires in a few months’ time. Keeping such an illustrious player around, however, would be nothing sort of a masterclass from their Spanish boss.
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